Many Minnesota drivers know their limits when it comes to alcohol consumption. Staying under the .08 blood alcohol concentration level often means spacing one’s drinks, consuming food and allowing adequate time to pass before getting behind the wheel. It is not always easy for someone to judge whether he or she has had too much alcohol to drive safely, and those mistakes in judgment result in many reaching out for a strong DWI defense.

A recent report by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine may make matters even more difficult for those who enjoy an evening out that includes drinking an adult beverage. The study examined the details of fatal alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents and concluded that among those drivers responsible for the accidents, the BAC of one out of seven was under .08. For the researchers, and perhaps for law enforcement and lawmakers, this raises the question of whether impairment begins well before someone reaches the legal limit.

In fact, the study suggests that the risk of crashing starts with a BAC as low as .02, which is about one beer or a small glass of wine. While Minnesota’s per se BAC is .08, officers who pull over a driver may determine him or her to be impaired based on other measures, such as roadside sobriety tests and their own observations. Even if a driver’s BAC is under .08, those observations may provide enough probable cause for an arrest.

Anyone facing charges for drunk driving should understand how devastating a conviction can be. Building an effective DWI defense begins with examining the evidence from the arrest. A BAC below .08 may be in a driver’s favor, but having strong legal representation can provide an unquestionable advantage.